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Kokua Line

Police use discretion in issuing shoulder-lane driver citations


Question: The line of cars waiting to take the Waialae Avenue offramp going Koko Head on the H-1 freeway often extends beyond the offramp, sometimes as far back as the 16th Avenue overpass. To stay out of the active lane of traffic, most drivers line up in the shoulder, rather than staying in the right lane until the dashed line indicates it is OK to move into the offramp. Isn’t this illegal? If so, can’t HPD step up enforcement? This used to happen only during the holiday shopping rush, with people trying to get to Kahala Mall. Now it seems to be happening every day.

Answer: This is a situation where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

In 2007 a "Kokua Line" reader complained about being chastised by a police officer for lining up with other vehicles in the shoulder lane to get on the Waialae Avenue offramp.

At that time (, the Honolulu Police Department said it is illegal for vehicles to line up in the shoulder lane, but officers were just warning people.

"This is an ongoing issue and one of those no-win situations where some drivers want more enforcement and others complain about too much enforcement," HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu said this time.

"By law the shoulder lane is for emergency use only, and drivers should stay in the right lane until reaching the offramp."

At the same time, she said, HPD recognizes that traffic on the Waialae Avenue offramp backs up during certain times of day.

So "officers exercise discretion when deciding whether to cite in these types of situations, and any driver who believes that he should not have been cited may choose to contest the citation in court."

Question: Approximately 5:30 p.m. every day, I see Chinatown merchants with storefronts on South King Street, starting from River Street, place their daily trash in heaps and bundles on the sidewalk. Some place their trash so close to the curb that it protrudes into the roadway and, on more than one occasion, is struck by a passing vehicle, causing empty cardboard boxes, rotting produce, bags, paper, etc., to fall into the path of oncoming vehicles. Not only is it hazardous, but it is unsightly. Who is responsible for removing the trash, and are merchants required to follow certain regulations when placing trash on the sidewalk?

Answer: Trash cannot block pedestrians walking on the sidewalks and cannot extend into the streets.

If you can provide exact addresses, the city Department of Environmental Services can speak to the businesses about the proper way to put out their trash, said spokesman Markus Owens.

You can call him at 768-3454.

"We may be only talking about a couple of inches creeping into the road," Owens said.

He pointed out that Chinatown basically closes early each day, and trash is picked up by the city six days a week, excluding Sundays. Chinatown is the earliest collection route on Oahu, beginning at 4 a.m., to make sure everything is picked up before work traffic begins at 5:30 a.m.

"This is not anything new and has been the practice for a long time," Owens said.



To whoever decides what streets to repave. Wouldn’t common sense tell you to repave the main street that’s full of potholes after repaving the side streets leading to it? Examples: Ala Lilikoi in front of the Salt Lake Shopping Center and the Ala Napunani roundabout. — No Name

Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail


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